At its October 28, 2013, Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in its rural call completion proceeding. According to the News Release, the Order will require providers with over 100,000 lines that make the initial choice as to how to route a call to: (1) collect and retain rural call completion data for six months; and (2) file quarterly reports. Providers will be able to take advantage of a safe harbor. Under the safe harbor, providers that incorporate industry best practices to limit the number of intermediate long distance providers to two will be subject to reduced data retention and reporting obligations. To encourage providers to have all mechanisms in place to ensure calls to rural areas are completed, providers will also have the option of requesting a waiver to have their retention and reporting obligations further reduced.
As soon as they take effect, the new rules will also prohibit providers from transmitting an audible ring to a caller’s handset when the phone on the other end of the call is not actually ringing.
The FCC said the new data collection and reporting requirements will: (1) provide it with the information it needs to investigate and eliminate the problem; (2) allow state regulators to better monitor performance and identify problem areas; and (3) allow providers to improve performance on their own.
The Order also includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on additional reforms pertaining to auto dialer traffic, intermediate providers, and on other safe harbor options and reporting requirements. Watch for a TMI Bulletin when the text of the Order is released. Meanwhile, read the News Release here